The five Zimbabwean nationals who were recently remanded in custody after being found with four pistols and live ammunition, which the police categorized as arms of war, have been discharged and acquitted.
Francistown Magistrate, Pride Rusike, discharged and acquitted Nhlanhla Ndebele, Vusa Dube, Mthabisi Dube, Qhubani Ncube and Surprise Phiri on the grounds that the state had failed to prove that the weapons that were found in their possession are indeed arms of war.
She stated that the evidence provided by the police’s ballistic report was insufficient and lacking in detail, such that the court could not rely on it. She pointed fingers at the investigating officers for their lack of professionalism.
The accused were arrested on the 3rd of August in Area G location in Francistown after a tip off from the public. There were also allegations that the men were planning an armed robbery.
The five suspects were found with four pistols and 23 live rounds of ammunition, which were recovered under the bonnet of their car. The arms and ammunition were then taken to Botswana Defence Force (BDF) to determine if they were arms of war, and a ballistic report was made.
The first accused had pleaded guilty to the charge indicating that all the four pistols and the ammunition were his. He absolved his co- accused from the crime saying that he uses the firearms to protect himself as he is a business man and a regular traveler to Angola and Zimbabwe.